Archive for the ‘Personal & Family’ Category
Getting the house ready for Christmas along side the children is always so magical. After putting up the lights, they all layed down underneath the tree, and looked up at all the lights.
“This is the best seat in the house!” Addie said.
Indeed it is. And most things are when you look up. Or get down low.
The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind here, and it’s right about now that I get sick of it, and want to slow down and enjoy the season. I’m feeling the burn.
There is still so much to do, but all of that doesn’t matter as much as paying attention does.
My local news site posted this yesterday, and I thought it was such a good reminder: Stop, Look & Listen.
So I’m making a Christmas List, but not the regular kind.
This Christmas I will:
1. Be grateful for laughter in my life
2. Write letters of Gratitude
3. Sing more carols around the fire, and be grateful that my husband plays the guitar
4. Go Christmas Caroling, even if it’s just around the cul-de-sac
5. Take the time with each child to talk about the Christmas Story
6. Teach my children a new Christmas Carol they didn’t know before
7. Give thanks for good neighbors and good friendships
8. Cook & bake together- all 5 of us in the kitchen
9. Read Gift of the Maji
10. Write in my journal about this year’s Christmas
11. Take more photographs
12. Give thanks for little fingerprints in the winter windows
13. Write a letter to Jesus, and help the kids write their’s too
14. Be grateful I’m not huge and pregnant and have lots of tickle fights on the floor
15. Take a break from working, and take time to listen to the quiet magic of the house after the kids are all tucked in bed. Maybe read a book. All by myself.
16. Feel the warmth of warm knitted socks, and give thanks for all the warm soft things in my life
17. Kiss under the mistletoe. Maybe put up more than one
18. Let things go
19. Make a fort and have a family sleepover
20. Listen for Christmas Elves
Experience has taught me that writing it down means I’m on my way to making it happen.
What things are you noticing this year?
A warm weekend to you all!
PS: One more day to shop for quilts and OUT TO SEA hand sewn items I designed on One Kings Lane
So I dropped off the blog world last week, maybe you noticed. We’ve been hit a second time by this stomach flu virus, that I am really hoping has moved on for good! We were super healthy last fall/winter so I guess it’s our turn.
I have to laugh a little, because this weekend marks 5 YEARS since starting my business. And the irony is that the night I opened my shop, my husband was out of town leaving me with two babies with the stomach flu. All at the same time. And I didn’t sleep for 3 days straight. And this weekend, exactly 5 years later, Kenneth was out of town again, and this time Ella and I were down and out. What a way to celebrate.
But Sunday night, after a wonderful weekend of inspiration, we were finally all together and healthy again.
I love this time of year. There is a magic I can’t really ever seem to put my finger on.
Guitar. Sunset. Yellow leaves. Crisp air. Blankets. Sun spots. Grass. Togetherness.
And after what seems like forever, I’ve brought out my camera again. I don’t know…something about sick kids and school starting has kept my camera away. Nothing like October light to bring it back out.
But to finish up, you’ve got to watch this video. Totally spontaneous Sunday evening….Ken’s been teaching himself how to play Ho Hey on the guitar, and the kids started learning it too. They had no idea Ian was being such a ham. And Addie made her own guitar. Check it out:
Come back tomorrow for some major 5 year birthday celebration!
I said: “I’m making dinner, You guys go outside and enjoy the last few hours of warm sunshine. It’s not going to be summer weather much longer!”
And they did. Enjoy it. Every single second of it.
This week I’m going to live in the moment a bit more. Not let a single chance go by. Fully feel and enjoy the present. Even get a little dirty.
You? How are you enjoying the change of seasons? Do you love the excitement of change? I miss the warm, but I’m loving the butternut squash soup on the stove today.
Today is a long post. But stick with me.
I’ve been considering a really big decision for the past year or so, and have finally come to a grand conclusion. And wow, has it been a journey of faith, patience, trust, sweat and tears. It’s hard to make decisions about your business, especially when they are founded upon deep and lifelong dreams, your personal family income and your creative needs as a person. But these past few months, as I’ve battled anxiety, stress, indecision and fear, I’ve learned to listen to God, my heart and my instincts, and I’m moving onward, ready to enter into a new phase for Sarah Jane.
Gosh. Writing that down so simply doesn’t really seem to be a big deal. Maybe it does. But to me, it’s a conclusion I’ve considered for a long time, but wasn’t ready to try until now.
Let me back up.
5 years ago this month, I sat on my bed, wondering where I was going to get work with 2 babies under 2, no family in town, 1 car and a husband who was working full time and going to graduate school at night. In tears, I finally got my answer: Start selling my art work on ETSY. I had a very strong goal of becoming a children’s book illustrator and a textile designer, but without any art schooling I had no resume, networks or resources. So starting an online shop made sense for 2 reasons: it would bring in a little cash to offset the demands of my husbands graduate schooling, and it would build a portfolio that I desperately needed to start putting myself “out there” as an artist.
In the back of my mind, I also dreamed of branding an online shop with all my creations…a high quality children’s brand with decor and soft goods for children’s spaces. And so as my shop grew, I made that the natural direction of Sarah Jane. I wanted to have a place where people could come and find products for their home that would inspire simple childhood.
But, as my shop grew, it became too much for me to handle. So I got help. And more help, and the business finally grew to the point where we couldn’t handle the orders in my own home, and we decided to fulfill our orders outside of my studio. It was a big move, but I knew what I needed to stay happy and balanced, and running a business this size at home wasn’t one of them.
But something else happened that I didn’t expect. There is a gap between LITTLE creative business and BIG creative business that I got stuck in. By taking the leap into bigger business, I was forced to be making huge decisions that weighed on my mind far more than I wanted them to. This business isn’t a hobby…it is a necessary part of our family’s income, but going from small to big took decisions and planning that were far more than I wanted to handle, and I found myself more stressed than I had ever been. I had turned into a business guru and a marketing expert….and I wasn’t spending my time getting lost in creative pleasures and projects like I needed to. I wasn’t able to tap into that place all artists go to when they need to get inspired. The best part of me…the part of me that is an artist…was getting squashed by the demands of growing a business. I knew I was losing the joy and the charm, and I didn’t know how to get it back.
But I’m a hard worker. I’m a “figure it out-er.” A dreamer, believer, and I don’t quit. I had some really great things going, and opportunities with promise, and I knew that I could figure this out. After all, it was what I always wanted, right?
But I started to see that maybe the dream I had of the charming children’s boutique filled to the brim wasn’t creating the lifestyle that I craved. I was building something that I had dreamed of, but as I got closer to that dream, I realized I didn’t want it after all. Which is a hard fact to face. Because you believe that with JUST a little more hard work, you’ll figure it out. Someday it will balance out, ease up, get easier, sail more smoothly. But I wasn’t seeing the horizon. And I was thinking that running a printer out of my bedroom was actually when I was happiest and most creative. Ouch. That was a harsh reality. Was all this growth for nothing?
How do you climb down a ladder you thought was getting you to where you wanted to go?
I realized that by answering the question: How do I wan to feel every day? How do I want to feel in 10 years? And what daily choices will achieve that? stopped the train and made me take a serious look at what I wanted out of all this. Logic was telling me I needed to keep trying harder, find clarity through experience, learning and research, get more business experience, etc. etc. But after all that, I still felt like I was missing something really important and I came to realize the answer was inside me all a long: I need to provide an income for my family, but I’m going to do it in a way that brings me the greatest sense of purpose and power. And accept that in my head, a full shop with pretty things was what I thought would get me there. But it wasn’t.
So this change is ultimately putting myself in a position to make fewer business decisions, and more artistic ones. And as much as I fear what will be in store, I actually have faith that because I’ve made the right decision (as hard as it was!) I will be far better off in every aspect of my life. Since coming to this decision last week, I’ve been more inspired, more creative, more free and much much lighter. I can’t wait to see what comes of all this. And hey…I’ve earned an honorary business degree, learned how to balance and manage a lot of things at once, figured out the difference between when to push and when to let go…and most importantly…I’ve come to realize what I really want out of it all.
Looking back, I started my shop to open up freelance jobs in publishing and fabric. I guess I figured I could run a growing business, mother 3 children, keep house, serve in the community AND illustrate books and fabric too. I felt compelled to try it, and for me the answer was to stick to what I do best & am most passionate about.
And so that brings me to now.
I’ve made the choice to let go of everything in the shop except for art prints and downloads.
No more paper embroidery patterns, cards, holiday calendars, gifts tags, bookplates, or journals.
We are going to sell out, and when they are gone, they are gone! I will sell through the holidays what is currently in stock, and after Jan. 1 the shop will only be shipping prints, and emailing PDF’s.
What that does mean however, is more books, fabric, downloads, art prints, tutorials and creative sharing.
I’m really excited for this new change. It’s a little scary, but I love the idea that I’ll be able to illustrate more books and design more fabric, and take more artistic liberties.
For all of you who have been with me since the beginning…I love you! Thank you for being on this journey with me! I share it, in hopes that if there are others out there who are in that battle ground of figuring out how and what they want out of their creative business, that you will find the support and encouragement you need. Cause changing course can be hard to do, especially when it requires looking deep into your heart and examining closely.
But for now, this is where I am. This is where I’ve arrived in order to shape this next phase for me.
Love to you all, and excited for this new chapter!
PS: the above quote is for you too.
and PPS: I have a brand new collection of prints launching tomorrow. Nautical prints and new sizes to play with. I can’t wait to show you!
The blog has been full of pretty things and projects lately, and I’ve not really taken the chance to share a couple thought’s I’ve been having.
Have you ever had the experience of being completely down, broken or vulnerable but to look up and see a certain sky that is so breathtaking and so unique you know it was meant for just you?
Our little fixer-upper cottage sits on top of a hill where I can see the sunset every day. And I often wonder, when those post-stormy sunsets burst through, “I wonder who that one is for tonight.”
I’ve struggled enough to know that those moments of bursting sunlight through the clouds can be just the symbol needed to smile and keep my gaze up. And because I get to see it every evening, I think about all the people seeing that same glorious setting and who might need it most.
I tired mother? I newly widowed neighbor? A frustrated teen?
I don’t always think about these in more than abstract thoughts, but it does make me recognize how far our fire can go if we just light it.
Do you see those sun rays spreading over miles of sky? Piercing through the last bits of heavy cloud?
I’m going to be honest with you, and say that I’m actually a naturally shy person who feels comfortable with the few close people in my life, namely my family and a few friends. Sharing my art started as an experiment and has turned into more than just a hobby. But I won’t lie and say that I often wish I could just keep myself behind that cloud. Especially when I’m tired and times get hard. Cause they do. But seeing this sunset yesterday…. seeing those beaming rays from one little peek of sun…. reminded me that while it can be hard to put myself out there all the time and every day….you really never know how far it can reach, or who will chance to see it.
And that is a beautiful concept. It’s passion that pushes me out of my shell….passion for art, for children, for beauty, simplicity and what could be.
So, I guess you could say that I’m convinced that we all have a light to shine, but just as important, we have light to inspire us to keep the fire going.
Joy. Love. Passion. Care. Deep Curiosity. Ambition. Motivation. Self Purpose. Heart.
These can ebb and flow. Thank goodness for “lights” that whisper to us to keep our light shining.
I’m peeking through today to nod to all you fire-y beautiful people. Incase anyone needed to see a sunset. Love to you all.
You probably know from my ABOUT page that I have a very valuable asset to my business;) Ann. She is amazing. She works part time for me and handles all the orders, customer service, emails, etc. She is my saving grace.
Well, the past year or so has been a busy year for her with meeting an incredible guy, and getting married this month!
Isn’t she a beautiful bride?
These photos are all from Tara B Photography. She’s amazing, and if you live in Utah or Idaho or anywhere close, she’s amazing.
I haven’t really talked too much about Ann here (we have a long distance relationship:) and so we aren’t together very much! But thank goodness for instant message, email, and cell phones, she handles everything so beautifully. She’s a creative spirit who dreams in spreadsheets. You don’t find that combination very often!
Congratulations Ann! I’m so happy for you!
And thank goodness for me, she can pick up and move anywhere and still be part of this Sarah Jane story. I’m the luckiest person!
Oh gosh. Today is a big day. I’m standing by the front door having just sent 2 of my 3 children to full day school today, and I just can’t get a grip on how I feel about this.There is one (really adorable) one left. But just one. Not as noisy and crazy, and I’m finding it rather like being naked in a way.
Part of me is so ready. Last year, I spent most of the day back and forth in the car between full day school, and part day kindergarten, and between that and regular mommy stuff, I couldn’t get 2 seconds to myself during the day. Forced to start my work at 8pm, I was exhausted. Plain beat. I don’t do well on little sleep, and that’s all I could get last year. And the year before that! And…well, you get the idea. We’re full speed at this house:)
This year, with both children in school all day, I just have Ella at home which will free me up considerably (and she’s even starting preschool…so this is a huge change!). It will be good to spend time with just the baby. Although, she’s not so baby anymore!
So, I don’t plan on working nights like I have the past 4 years. It will also mean I can get the gym, lose the weight I’ve gained from the past couple years of no sleep, and get a working day rhythm. I’m really looking forward to that! Illustrating and working in the daylight hours? That’s gonna be weird.
But not working when the kids are home has been my goal. That doesn’t always happen, especially in the summer, but I really try and just be “home” when they are. With work becoming more and more important for us to sustain, this change really does come at the perfect time! But, oh it really has always been a conflict for me. I love doing what I do, but deadlines drive this industry and it can often make for a stressed out Mommy. So a quieter house will be a welcomed guest.
….at the same time, I’m feeling so lonely. We’ve been together, the 5 of us, ALL SUMMER and man we have had so much fun. They are my muses. We spent 6 weeks on the East Coast at my parents house, with no other playmates but each other. It was amazing. And now it’s going to be really quiet. Do I really have kids old enough to leave home for 7 hours a day? I’m starting to see the wrinkles in my face already:) Gosh, a Mother’s heart is so complex, isn’t it!
Bottom line, I’m going to miss having everyone home all the time, but I do love creative projects. And it will be VERY good for me to really work without the guilt of squeezing in time when they don’t notice, or staying up super late. I really want to build this little space that I’ve created in Sarah Jane, and I’m ready to hit the drawing board. I’ve got a lot of really great opportunities and ideas, but with this new start, I also want to hear from YOU!
What would YOU like to see this year at Sarah Jane? I’ve got more time carved out, and while it’s never big enough for the dreams in my head, I really would love to hear your wishes and ideas too.
So are you ready? Ready for a great new year here in the studio? I’m going to be posting a survey where you can share your ideas with me. I’ll probably have it up sometime in the next 24 hours, but I wanted to give you a heads up so you can be thinking. I really want to consider the wishes that you have!
So stay tuned, and know that if there are any other mothers out there with that first week of school mother heart syndrome, I’m with you. All the way. Now to get busy making fun and pretty things for them to ease my Mother Heart.
NYC has always been one of my favorite cities.
I remember as a child, visiting and being so aware of the energy of possibility in this town. It’s seriously so tangible! Kenneth and I got away (for an entire week!) sans kids and I’m still on a high. Getting away period is a trip enough. I adore my kids, but recharges are necessary, aren’t they? And since we’re still visiting with my parents, this was the perfect chance to sneak away for a bit. I needed to head up there for some jobs I’m working on anyways, so it was the prefect mix of play and work.
Coming away from this amazing town, I’m always filled with the sense that ANYTHING is possible. I’ve always had that sense about me, and maybe it comes from visiting places like NYC. I love the feeling of ingenuity and creativity. It’s my kind of inspiring.
Need I say more? I stocked up on some much needed Liberty fabric. These are needs, not wants, folks.
New York Public Library.
Ken and I went in to work for a few hours, but I ended up illustrating and working in the children’s section while he studied in the main (gorgeous) study area. Sitting feet away from the original Winnie the Pooh animals belonging to Christopher Robin with my sketchbook wide open, I was channeling some major vibes for sure!
And look, Eeyore even has a pinned on tail.
If you have to hit ONE fabric store in the garment district, I’d send you here. Really amazing selection! I walked into Rosen & Chadick in the Garment District, and what do I see first as I walk in? Children at Play! That made my day:) I spent a good 2 hours there, and fell in love with the owner and their really amazing selection of fabric. If you are in town, stop by for sure. I spent way too much money…but it’s research, right? Happy place.
Color, Color, color. I used to travel a lot, before kids. I forgot how much it fills up my senses, and inspires me in so many ways! Soaking in so much design, color, sounds and people is just what the doctor ordered. Much needed retreat.
Maybe I want to be a food blogger now. A NYC food blogger, and get the excuse to travel the city and blog about it all. Still can’t forget the Kati Rolls I had or that amazing Shrimp Tarragon roll at Chealsea Market.
We had such a blast visiting with some of our favorite people here. Michael Miller, Harper Collins Childrens Books, Oliver & S, and other peeps are located here, and there were some fun times! Michael Miller’s place is a blast. Karen (at the top) is my art director at MMF, and we had the chance to work in person. What a treat! She’s so talented and I just love working with the team there.
I seriously love this city. But really, what I have loved most is the chance to get away and be filled. As a mom and an artist, getting away is SO important. After 7 days of working and illustrating and exploring this city withKen, I’m seriously ready to jump into the start of a whole new year (and hit the gym after so many yummy food stops!). I’m thinking that mini-trips are part of taking care of the soul. It’s hard to make the sacrifice, but it’s just what the doctor ordered!
Soul Trips. I like that.